The India great pointed out a harsh reality saying that the Kuldeep’s place is still not certain in the Indian team despite the record performance against Bangladesh.
Kuldeep Yadav made a brilliant comeback to the Indian Test team. Playing his first match for India in the Test format in 22 months, Kuldeep picked a five-wicket haul in the team’s emphatic 188-run win in Chattogram against Bangladesh. He was later recognised as the Player of the Match in India’s victory. Yet, India great Mohammad Kaif point out a harsh reality saying that the leg-spinner’s place is still not certain in the Indian team despite the record performance.
Kuldeep finished with figures of 5 for 40 in the first innings, becoming the first ever Indian spinner to pick a five-wicket haul at the venue. The bowling figures were also among the best ever by an Indian spinner in Bangladesh.
Kuldeep later picked three more wickets in the second innings as India beat Bangladesh by 188 runs to take an unassailable 1-0 lead in the series. For his all-round show, which included a valiant 40-run knock and a 96-run stand alongside R Ashwin in the first innings, Kuldeep was given the Player of the Match award.
However, Kaif, in conversation with Sony Sports, opined that Kuldeep will remain India’s third-choice spinner with Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja being preferred as the first-choice options. He feels that Kuldeep will probably have to sit out during the home series against Australia despite the Chattogram performance.
“He was hurt when he was with KKR. He was emotional but made a brilliant comeback. The run of couple of years where he wasn’t getting a place in the Test team, his white-ball performance wasn’t up to the mark and he never really got any support. This Man of the Match trophy will hold a great place in his career now. Because India will still be looking at Ashwin and Jadeja. His place is still not certain in the Indian team. Against Australia if India play two spinners. Jadeja and Ashwin will still be the choices. He is still the third spinner so the challenge is still there. What he needs to do is to make the most of the chances he gets. That five-wicket haul in the first innings on this pitch was huge. It showed class,” he said.
Former India cricketer Ajay Jadeja, who was part of the same panel, revealed that in terms of conditions, Ashwin and Jadeja will forever stay ahead in the pecking order, bit in unfavourable conditions, Kuldeep will be the No.1 choice for India.
“The skill that he possess, based on that he is the No.1. But if you stick to finger-spinners, Kuldeep will be the third choice, but when conditions aren’t favourable for spinners, he then becomes the No.1 spinner. I always keep track of the selection process and he has always faced rejection. This time he was selected and he proved it. Because it wasn’t necessary to play him given that India had two spinners, but they took a call, it was a good one and hope they continue with it,” he said.